Tyronn Lue: Cavs’ defense will be ‘totally different’ in playoffs
Tyronn Lue for the second season in a row vowed that there are plans in place to improve the Cleveland Cavaliers’ much-maligned defense. In fact, Lue insisted the defense will look “totally different next week” once the team is playing in the postseason.
“We’ll probably do things we haven’t done all season when it comes to the playoffs, things we’ve been working on all year,” Lue said this week, via Cleveland.com’s Joe Vardon. “It’s the same thing we do every playoffs. So, we’ll see what happens.”
The Cavaliers have not been among the strongest teams on the defensive side of the court for years. And yet, it did not stop the team from reaching the NBA Finals last season. And it merits noting that Lue played the same kind of card last season ahead of the playoffs by indicating the Cavaliers coaching staff had a secret plan ahead of the postseason to fix myriad defensive woes.
That said, the Cavaliers this season are among the worst defensive teams in the league, ranking 29th in defensive rating at 109.5. Only the Phoenix Suns, boasting the worst record in the NBA, sport a worse rating (110.7).
Lue also noted how the roster overhaul in February made it difficult to implement significant changes to the defense on the fly.
“I think we had a team that the last three years, before this year, we had pretty much in place, so we knew when the playoffs started, things we wanted to do, things we worked on all season, we knew we were capable of doing,” Lue said. “But with the new guys we gotta see what they’re able to do, so it’s been tough trying to balance the two.”
The Cavaliers (50-31) presently occupy the fourth spot in the Eastern Conference, although it’s still possible Cleveland could snag the third seed, currently held by the Philadelphia 76ers (51-31). Either way, it will be interesting to see Lue’s so-called “totally different” defense come playoff time.